Davis's poetic dialogue with Leiris's autobiography

Jonathan Evans

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In his article "Davis's Poetic Dialogue with Leiris's Autobiography" Jonathan Evans analyzes Lydia Davis's translation of the first two parts of Michel Leiris's autobiography, which shows an encounter between two writers. Davis has also written stories which reference Leiris and thus position him as a precursor. Evans proposes that Leiris is not only a source of influence for Davis, but that their texts can be read as a dialogue. Using a methodology that draws on Lacanian psychoanalysis, Evans shows how Leiris focuses on sound and graphological patterns in order to understand his own conscious and unconscious relationship with words. Davis, in her stories, forces the reader to question their own relationship to language and the symbolic order. Thus, Davis's translation of Leiris's autobiography becomes a graft on her work as it offers her a chance to explore writing in a way which would be uncharacteristic in her own work.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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